Beauty treatment kills Hong Kong woman, three ill

Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:41pm EDT
 
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By Tan Ee Lyn

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A 46-year-old woman has died in Hong Kong and three others are fighting for their lives following a beauty parlor treatment that involves blood transfusion, highlighting a lack of regulation in the city's cosmetic industry.

The cases have prompted an investigation by police and medical authorities, and renewed calls by health experts for tighter regulation of Hong Kong's beauty industry.

"Yes, the woman aged 46 died (Wednesday morning) of septic shock," a government spokeswoman said. Three others, aged 56, 59 and 60, were in hospital with the eldest in critical condition.

Septic shock is normally caused by bacterial infection and can result in respiratory and organ failure, even death.

The four had recently undergone a complicated blood transfusion procedure at the DR beauty chain, according to government statements, in a treatment that was meant to boost their immune system and appearance.

The women paid around HK$50,000 ($6,400) for the procedure, which experts say is at best an experimental treatment for cancer patients and which has not shown to have any aesthetic application so far.

DR said in a statement on Wednesday that the procedures were carried out by a doctor who was not employed by the parlor.

The procedure required their blood to be taken to isolate and culture certain types of immune cells. These "cytokine-induced killer cells" were then injected back into the women together with their own blood plasma.   Continued...